Business

Tony Henshaw and Richard Gianni on Small Business and City Construction Contracts

The City of Houston has launched a first-in-the-state program aimed to help smaller contractors develop the skills and resources they need to compete for public works contracts.

 

This week, the City of Houston kicked off the Small Contractor Rotation Program. The program, the first of its kind in Texas, aims to help train small contractors to compete for city construction contracts.

Tony Henshaw
Tony Henshaw is division manager of the Small Business Development Group at the city’s Department of Public Works and Engineering

Gianni
Richard Gianni is the East Texas regional vice president for LiftFund

Tony Henshaw is division manager of the Small Business Development Group at the city’s Department of Public Works and Engineering. Richard Gianni is the East Texas regional vice president for LiftFund, one of seven lenders partnering with the city on the program. They join Andrew Schneider on this week’s installment of the Bauer Business Focus.

 

INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS:

Why is having small businesses involved in city construction contracts so important to Houston?

Henshaw: “With the number of minorities in Houston as small business owners, it’s important that the City of Houston engage small contractors in infrastructure development. Small contractors also allow the City of Houston to reduce the cost of the delivery of services to the taxpayer.”

 

What are some of the challenges that small construction firms face now in bidding for city contracts?

Gianni: “Capacity is probably the number one problem, the ability to fund the projects. A lot of small contractors simply don’t have the capital to sustain the work, to pay the payroll, to pay for the products and materials, and then have to wait for that funding to take place.”

 

How does the Small Contractor Rotation Program aim to address these problems?

Henshaw: “We recognize that this is not something the city can do on its own, so we’ve reached out to some partners in the financial institutions [as well as] a bonding company and asked them to join us…The Department of Public Works and Engineering…will put out smaller work-order-size construction work, and in turn, the financial institutions would agree to finance this project and pay these contractors in three days after the work order is completed.” 

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media’s business reporter, covering the oil...

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